Rohr’s Sack, European Clubs’ AFCON Threat + Other Top Sports Stories This Week

 

As COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to sports globally amid the Omicron variant, calls for the postponement of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), have gathered steam. 

In Nigeria,  the Super Eagles’ longest-serving coach was dismissed, while Akwa United got rewarded for their title-winning feat.

These and others, make up First Eleven, as we try to make sense of events in the sporting world in the past week.

Rohr’s Sack

Rohr maintains there was no justification for sacking him.

 

We begin from home where Nigeria on Sunday sacked long-time coach, Gernot Rohr, following a string of unconvincing results.

The decision came months after Nigeria lost at home to the lowly-rated Central Africa Republic (CAR), and survived a nervy game against Cape Verde to book a place in the playoff stage of the 2022 World Cup qualifier.

Days after Rohr’s dismissal, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, explained that the decision had to be made to avoid disaster.

According to him, the German had lost the dressing and indiscipline was rife in the team.

But Rohr faulted the NFF for sacking him, maintaining that he met all targets.

A ‘Surprised’ Move

Eguavoen is a former Nigerian defender.

 

Although the NFF’s decision may not be surprising to many fans in Nigeria, the interim coach of the team, Austin Eguavoen, said he never expected to be handed the role.

The former Super Eagles defender explained that he also did not see Rohr’s sack coming.

“I would say I was shocked, I was surprised when my name was announced after a brief discussion but I thought Gernot Rohr will continue because it has always been, ‘Is he going to continue? Is he not going to continue?’ We’re going to sort things out,” Eguavoen told Channels Television.

“And then when my bosses spoke to me about it a couple of days ago I was like why not but is there a possibility that we can sort things out with him.”

Money Rain For Akwa United 

Akwa United won the league with 71 points. Photo: Akwa United.

 

Away from Rohr’s sack, Governor Emmanuel Udom rewarded Akwa United following their title-winning feat in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Udom in a ceremony to honour the team at the Government House in Uyo on Thursday promised them N100m, a bus, and a plot of land each to the players.

The Akwa Ibom Governor aside from the reward also urged the team to build on their league victory in the coming season.

NWFL Continues

Rivers Angels are seven-time NWFL champions. Photo: [email protected]

 

While Akwa United will be waiting for the start of the NPFL to defend their crown, matches have already started in the women’s league better known as the Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL).

The league which began last weekend is already in Match Day 2. Fourteen teams will be competing in two groups of seven teams each.

Rivers Angels, last season’s winners, have started their title defense and have four points from two games played so far. But Bayelsa Queens are the leaders in Group A with four points having scored more goals.

In Group B of the NWFL, Confluence Queens led the chart after winning two of their games played so far.

Okpekpe Race Returns

East Africans Sweep Okpekpe Road Race

 

World Athletics has confirmed May 28, 2022, as the new date for the eighth Okpekpe International Road Race.

The decision is coming after the competition was twice moved – in 2021 and 2020 – due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Pamodzi Sports Marketing – organisers of the competition –   Mike Itemuagbor, the road race will be back in a better form.

“We have done all the documentation required and we are delighted that World Athletics has confirmed the date we set for the race,” he said, adding that the Okpekpe Road Race will be held in line with COVID-19 guidelines.

AFCON: Pressure Mounts On CAF

AFCON trophy.

 

With less than a month to kickoff, there is pressure on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The European Club Association, which represents leading clubs across the continent, is among leading voices calling for the postponement of the competition billed for Cameroon early next year.

With a host of African top stars playing in Europe, several big clubs are expected to lose players for at least to three-week.

Worried by the outbreak of the Omicron variant and a “suitable medical and operational protocol for the AFCON tournament,” ECA is threatening that the clubs will not release players for the competition. Amid clamours for the postponement, CAF insists the AFCON will hold as planned.

UEFA Draw Drama

 

In Europe, the UEFA Champions League knockout draws were held earlier in the week but an “error” from the organisers meant it had to be redone.

UEFA blamed a “material error” due to a “technical problem with the software of an external service provider” as it announced that the draw for the first knockout round of its flagship competition would be redone at 1400 GMT.  The full fixtures for the knockout phase of the Champions League can be found here.

Aguero Bows Out 

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Kun Aguero looks on as he addresses a press conference to announce his retirement from football, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on December 15, 2021. Pau BARRENA / AFP

 

Two days after the Champions League knockout phase draws, Argentine star, Sergio Aguero retired from football, ending a career that saw him score 260 goals for Manchester City.

The 33-year-old, who recently moved to Barcelona and only managed five games, broke down in tears while announcing his retirement from the game in a press conference.

Compatriot, Lionel Messi, was among the first set of people to pay tribute to the former Atletico Madrid forward both of whom won the Copa America earlier this summer.

Messi and Aguero won the football event of the 2008 Olympics. Photo: Instagram/Leomessi

 

COVID-19 Ravages EPL

Manchester City’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva (2L) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with teammates during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on November 6, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Aguero’s retirement was not the only health-related issue in European football this week. The English Premier League is battling a wave of COVID-19 infections. Owing to the resurgence of the disease, several league games have been called off but opinions are divided on moves for a COVID-19 break.

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, is among those who maintain the league should continue while his Arsenal counterpart, Mikel Arteta, is calling for fairness before a decision is taken on the matter.

England is also not the only nation where the virus is disrupting football. In Spain, several Real Madrid players have contracted the disease.

F1 Great Hamilton Knighted

Mercedes’ British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton poses with his medal after being appointed as a Knight Bachelor (Knighthood) for services to motorsports, by Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on December 15, 2021. Andrew Matthews / POOL / AFP

 

And just days after missing out on a record-breaking eighth Formula One title in controversial fashion, Lewis Hamilton was knighted by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old was recognised in the New Year Honours list for services to motorsport following a year in which he broke Michael Schumacher’s all-time tally for Grand Prix wins and emulated the German by winning a seventh world title.

On Sunday, however, championship rival Max Verstappen won his first Formula One world title after a season-long battle with Hamilton came down to a one-lap shoot-out in Abu Dhabi.

‘Greatness!’ Steve Curry Sets Record

ead Coach Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrate after passing Ray Allen for most three-pointers made in NBA history with 2,974 during the game against the New York Knicks on December 14, 2021, at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP

 

In basketball, Golden State Warriors star, Stephen Curry, eclipsed Ray Allen’s all-time record for NBA three-pointers with his 2,973rd career three-pointer.

It came on his first shot of the clash with the New York Knicks, less than two minutes into the contest, and had the crowd on its feet.

 

Wike Sacks Commissioner For Health Professor Princewill Chike

A photo combination of a former Rivers State Health Commissioner, Professor Princewill Chike, and Governor Wike.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has sacked his Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike.

Governor Wike announced this at the State Executive Council Chambers on Monday during a courtesy visit by officials of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria who were in Government House to intimate him about their national conference holding in Port Harcourt.

The governor was enraged that the sacked commissioner solely approved the hosting of the conference without due process.

READ ALSO: Nasarawa Governor Nominates 28-Year-Old Law Graduate, 14 Others As Commissioners

He said he only learnt about the conference through a text message from the commissioner while on a foreign trip soliciting for the provision of logistics without prior information in private or during executive council meetings

According to him, the poor execution of plan by Professor Chike brought his administration to disrupt, coupled with the fact that the courtesy visit by the health body clashed with the state executive council’s approved date for the continuation of projects commissioning.

The governor, therefore, asked the commissioner to excuse the meeting before attending to the officials of the Medical and Dental Council, where he promised to further improve healthcare service delivery in Rivers State.

Kaduna Govt Sacks 233 Teachers, Schedules Fresh Competency Test For 12,254 Others

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

The Kaduna State Government has sacked 233 teachers for presenting fake certificates upon the time of their recruitment.

Tijjani Abdullahi, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board disclosed this on Thursday during a press conference in Kaduna.

He said the teachers were sacked after inquiries from the institutions they claimed to have attended, which showed that they presented fake certificates.

The decision to investigate the certificates of the teachers, the SUBEB Chairman explained, commenced in April 2021 as part of the board’s responsibility to ensure that all teachers actually have the qualifications they presented.

According to him, the major objective of the exercise is to ensure that all our teachers have the requisite credentials that constitute the basic qualifications for employment as teachers.

The Kaduna SUBEB Chairman added that 451 certificates have so far been verified by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates, while nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded.

READ ALSO: Emirates Airlines Announces Resumption Of Services In Nigeria After 10 Months

“So far, the Board has verified 451certificates by contacting the institutions that awarded the certificates. Nine of the 13 institutions contacted have responded, as of today,” he said.

“The responses from the institutions show that 233 teachers presented fake certificates. This represents 51% of the 451 certificates on which responses have been received from the awarding institutions. One institution disowned 212 of these 233 fake certificates.

“The Board will dismiss the 233 teachers who presented these fake certificates, while their files will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery. The Board will continue to check the integrity of the certificates presented by teachers to ensure that this critical profession is not devalued by impostors.

“As part of our duty of transparency, the names of the 233 teachers found to have presented fake certificates will be uploaded on the website of the Kaduna State Government today.”

The Board also announced that it will conduct a fresh competency test for 12,254 teachers from January 2022 as part of continuous assessment of its teachers both for their own improvement and for better delivery of learning.

It will be recalled that the Kaduna State Government had in 2017 recruited 25,000 new teachers after it sacked over 22,000 unqualified ones following a competency.

‘Outstanding Human’: Ronaldo Pays Tribute To Solskjaer 

Ex-Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo as he comes off the substitutes bench during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 2, 2021. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute on Monday to “outstanding human being” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian was sacked as Manchester United manager.

Ronaldo, who returned to Old Trafford in August, has scored nine times in 13 games for United this season but has failed to prevent the club’s slide down the Premier League table after a series of embarrassing results.

Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday, less than 24 hours after United’s humiliating 4-1 defeat at Watford, which followed chastening home losses to Liverpool and Manchester City.

READ ALSOMan Utd Sack Solskjaer After Dismal Run

Ronaldo, 36, was a team-mate of Solskjaer’s in his first spell at the club under Alex Ferguson.

“He’s been my striker when I first came to Old Trafford and he’s been my coach since I came back to Man. United,” Ronaldo said on Twitter.

“But most of all, Ole is an outstanding human being. I wish him the best in whatever his life has reserved for him. Good luck, my friend! You deserve it!”

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching team, will take charge of upcoming games while the club look to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season.

United are already realistically out of the Premier League title race, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, and face a crucial Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.

AFP

Solskjaer Says He Is Leaving Man Utd In ‘Better State’

File photo: Ex-Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Ol d Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he hopes to have left Manchester United in a better state than he inherited them three years ago after the Norwegian was sacked by the club on Sunday.

A 4-1 thrashing at the hands of lowly Watford finally saw the axe fall on Solskjaer’s position after the club’s hierarchy kept faith with the 48-year-old in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

“This club means everything to me and together we’re a good match, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the results we needed and it’s time for me to step aside,” Solskjaer said in an interview with United’s in-house media.

“You know what this club means to me and what I wanted to achieve here. For the club, for the fans, for the players, for the staff. I wanted us to take the next step to challenge for the league, to win trophies.”

Solskjaer was handed the job on an interim basis in December 2018 thanks to his legendary status at the club after scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final to complete a historic treble.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Sack Solskjaer After Dismal Run

After winning 14 of his first 19 matches, he was then handed the job on a permanent deal.

Two seasons of steady progress saw United finish in the Premier League top four in back-to-back seasons for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired as boss in 2013.

But silverware escaped Solskjaer as he lost four cup semi-finals and last season’s Europa League final in a marathon penalty shootout to Villarreal.

Expectations were high of a Premier League title challenge this season after the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the transfer window.

But United have lost five of their last seven league games to fall 12 points behind leaders Chelsea.

“I want to thank the board and the owners for giving me the opportunity because it’s not for everyone and I’ve had the opportunity,” added Solskjaer.

“I’m so honoured and privileged to have been trusted to take the club forward, and I really hope that I leave it in a better state than when I came.

“I think there is potential in this club. We all love the club, and we all want to see it continue.”

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching staff, will take charge of Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash against Villarreal.

Solskjaer said he had spoken to the players on Sunday morning to encourage them to prove they are better than they have showed in recent weeks in Spain.

“As I’ve said to them this morning as well, trust yourselves, you know we’re better than this,” he added.

“We’ve not been able to show it but go out, chest out, enjoy being a Man United player, in the Champions League, on the biggest stage. If and when you win the game, you’re through to the next round.

“Michael is going to be in charge. Michael, I have the utmost respect, I love Michael to bits. I’m becoming emotional now because he’s top. They’ll be fine. I’ll watch them and support them.”

AFP

‘Jinxed:’ Four Times Man United Lost Semi-Final Games Under Solskjaer

In this file photo taken on October 16, 2021, ex-Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club’s manager on Sunday, ending a three-year trophyless stint which saw the Norwegian losing four semi-finals and a final.  

A 1-4 humiliating defeat against relegation-threatened Watford at the Vicarage Road on Saturday, the latest in a string of losses, was the final straw.

The loss left the Old Trafford side seventh on the league log, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. They are also facing a threat of non-qualification for the Champions League next season.

Before Sunday’s sack, United under Solskjaer had failed to win a trophy, their last being the Europa League they clinched during Jose Mourinho’s reign.

But the former Molde manager did get some near misses during his time with the 1999 European champions.

READ ALSO: Five Potential Candidates To Replace Solskjaer

Here are four times Manchester United lost semi-final encounters under Solskjaer:

2020/21: Man Utd 0-2 Man City (Carabao Cup)

File photo: Former Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic halting sports globally, the Carabao Cup semi-final was a single-legged affair.

But Manchester United, in their fourth semi-final encounter under the Norwegian coach, crumbled 0-2 in the hands of neighbours Manchester City.

Brazil’s Fernandinho was on song during the game, wrapping up a match that also saw  John Stones getting on the scorer’s sheet.

2019/20: Sevilla 2-1 Man Utd  (Europa League)

Players including Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea reacts after the UEFA Europa League semi-final football match Sevilla v Manchester United on August 16, 2020, in Cologne, western Germany. Ina Fassbender / POOL / AFP

 

After taking a first-half advantage via a Bruno Fernandes goal. However, they were pegged back just before the break. United missed several chances before Luuk De Jong punished them with a winner with 12 minutes to go. It’s the team’s third semi-final defeat under Solskjaer.

2019/20: Chelsea 3-1 Man Utd (FA Cup)

Chelsea players celebrating after Giroud scored the opener in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Sunday, July 19th, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The second semi-final defeat for United since the arrival of the club legend ended their 19-match unbeaten streak. It was also the third time in four terms that Chelsea had eliminated the Red Devils from the competition.

 2019/20: Man Utd 1-3 Man City; Man City 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3) – Carabao Cup

United’s Brandon Williams leaps high in the air to try to win the ball against Mahrez during the clash. Photo: Manchester United.

 

In a classic display for Pep Guardiola’s men, Manchester United blew away Solskjaer’s boys, taking a massive 3-0 lead under 30 minutes.

English striker Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal for United in the second half in the first leg encounter.

In the second leg encounter, Manchester United won 3-2 but that was inadequate to see them through to the final.

Man Utd Sack Solskjaer After Dismal Run

Solskjaer reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s three-year reign as manager at Old Trafford on Sunday, but plan to wait until the end of the season to name the Norwegian’s permanent successor.

Saturday’s 4-1 embarrassment at the hands of struggling Watford was the final straw for the United board, who had stuck by Solskjaer in recent weeks despite humiliating home defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City.

Former midfielder Michael Carrick, who was part of Solskjaer’s coaching team, will take charge of the forthcoming games while the club look to appoint an interim manager till the end of the season.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Thrash Arsenal To End Arteta’s Winning Streak

“Manchester United announces that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has left his role as Manager,” the club said in a statement.

“Ole will always be a legend at Manchester United and it is with regret that we have reached this difficult decision. While the past few weeks have been disappointing, they should not obscure all the work he has done over the past three years to rebuild the foundations for long-term success.”

Solskjaer leaves with United already realistically out of the Premier League title race, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea down in seventh in the table, and having exited the League Cup.

Carrick’s first game in charge will be a crucial Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday.

Another defeat in Spain would leave the Red Devils needing both results in the final round of matches in Group F to go their way to avoid crashing out at the group stage for a second consecutive season.

 ‘Nightmare’

A run of five defeats in Solskjaer’s final seven league games contrasts sharply with the anticipation that surrounded the club in August when Cristiano Ronaldo made a surprise return to Old Trafford in the final days of the transfer window.

United also spent over £100 million ($134 million) on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane as they looked to build on finishing second in the league to Manchester City last season.

However, Solskjaer was unable to assemble the pieces of his star-studded squad into a collective unit despite Ronaldo’s return of nine goals in 14 games.

“We don’t know what to do with the ball, we don’t know how to defend properly and we’re conceding a lot of goals,” said United goalkeeper David de Gea, whose double penalty save from Watford’s Ismaila Sarr counted for nothing.

“It’s not acceptable for this club and the level of players that we have. It’s another nightmare.”

Solskjaer had ridden out storms before in a rollercoaster but ultimately trophyless three years.

However, even his credit as a club legend for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final to win a historic treble for Alex Ferguson’s side was fading as he was booed by the travelling support at Vicarage Road.

“Thank you Ole. You did us proud,” said former United captain Gary Neville, who has been criticised for not calling for his former teammate to be sacked in his punditry.

“The last two months were tough but before that you restored some soul into the club.”

Zinedine Zidane, who won three Champions League titles with Ronaldo and Varane at Real Madrid, is the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Solskjaer, with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag also in contention.

But the decision to wait until the summer to make a permanent appointment could open up a wider pool of potential candidates, including Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has previously been linked with the job.

Federal Poly Bauchi Sacks Two Lecturers For Sexual Harassment        

Entrance of the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi.

 

Two lecturers of the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi have been dismissed after being found guilty of sexual harassment.

The rector of the polytechnic, Architect Sanusi Gumau confirmed the dismissal during a press briefing and said the decision to sack the staff was reached at the 98th sitting of the Governing Council of the polytechnic which held on Saturday.

Channels Television gathered that the lecturers found guilty are Abubakar Baba of the General Studies Department and Adebusoye Sunday of the Nutrition and Dietetic Department.

Gumau explained that haven received complaints from the students, the lecturers were immediately queried and various committees were set up to investigate the matter and after studying the reports of the committees the governing council issued a final verdict to fire the lecturers.

READ ALSO: Colombia’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord ‘Otoniel’ Captured

“This issue of Isa Baba came up on 4th August 2021. The extant rule of the poly, if an issue of this magnitude happened, the complainant has right and immediately when she wrote, the registrar that very evening was in my house that evening together with the head of the department,” the rector said.

“I said the staff should be queried. That is the next line of action as per our extant rules of the institution as provided by the Federal Government.”

“When we queried him, he replied and when the reply was not satisfactory, we established a committee to investigate the matter to a logical conclusion.

“The Senior Staff Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee met and invited the suspect, we cross-examined them here, made the recommendation to the Council and the Council today has finally approved the dismissal of Abubakr Musa Baba of the Federal Poly Bauchi.

“The same case of Mr Adebusoye Sunday is also dismissed with effect from today, which is the decision of the council on this.”

He said their dismissal letters will be handed to the security agencies and other government agencies that assisted in the investigation.

A human rights group, Prison Inmate Development had earlier taken up the case and accused the polytechnic of trying to cover up an alleged case of rape but the polytechnic in its defence said the case has since August been under investigation and only reached a conclusion yesterday.

Meanwhile, 30 students of the polytechnic have been expelled for various offenses of malpractice and certificate forgery.

Governor El-Rufai Sacks 19 Political Appointees 

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

 

Governor Nasir El-Rufai has fired 19 political appointees in the state as part of his administration’s move to “rightsize” the public service in the state.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communications Muyiwa Adekeye announced the development in a statement on Wednesday.

Two special advisers, one deputy chief of staff and several special assistants are among those affected by the decision, which followed the recent controversial layoffs in the state that led to the now-suspended industrial action by organised labour in the state last week.

The Deputy Chief of Legislative Staff, Bala Yunusa Mohammed; and two of his special assistants – Halima Musa Nagogo and Umar Abubakar – were among those fired.

Also sacked were Ben Kure (Special Adviser on Politics) and his special assistants – Mustapha Lynda Nyusha and Jamilu Gwarzala Dan Mutum, as well as Umar Haruna, a Special Assistant on Politics.

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls On International Community To Support Peaceful Transition In Chad

Others are the Special Adviser (Social Development), Zainab Shehu; Special Assistant to the Special Adviser, Stephen Hezron; Senior Special Assistant (Stakeholders Relations), Mohammed Bello Shuaibu; and the Senior Special Assistant on Youth, Aliyu Haruna.

The Special Assistant Creative Arts, Halima Idris; the Director-General of Public Procurement Authority, Engr Aliyu Alhaji Salihu; Special Assistant Community Relations; Ashiru Zuntu, and a Senior Special Assistant, Saida Sa’ad, were affected as well.

Also on the list are the Special Assistant Programmes, Elias Yahaya; Special Assistant to the Secretary to Kaduna State Government, Tasiu Suleiman Yakaii; the Special Assistant on Economic Matters, Samuel Hadwayah; and the Senior Special Assistant Environment, Ahmed Mohammed Gero.

The governor thanked the departing officials for their services to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours.

 

 

 

PDP Calls For Pantami’s Sack, Asks DSS To Probe Minister

A photo combination of the PDP logo and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami after several reports portrayed his past extreme religious views.

Pantami had for the first time acknowledged his past views but noted that he has since renounced those radical assertions.

According to Pantami, the past radical ideas he was championing were due to age, immaturity, and limited knowledge.

But the PDP in a statement issued on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, asked the Department of State Service to quiz the Minister.

READ ALSO: #PantamiResignNow: Nigerians Continue To Ask For Minister’s Resignation Over Extremist Views

“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) charges the Department of State Services (DSS) to immediately invite the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, for questioning over alleged affiliations with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda,” the statement partly read.

“The party also demands that President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately sack the minister, given the sensitivity of the issue at stake.”

The main opposition party explained that its position “is predicated on the heightening concerns in the public space and in the international arena of possible compromises by the communication minister, who has access to sensitive government documents and information, in addition to data of all individuals including high profile personalities in the public and private sectors as well as the traditional and faith-based circles.”

It also expressed worry about “allegations in the public suggesting that the minister compromised the NIN registration exercise by giving room for the registration of aliens and invaders from other countries as our citizens.”

While urging Nigerians to remain alert and very sensitive to their environment, the PDP said the masses should not hesitate in providing useful information to our security agencies in the interest of our nation.

Four Senior Police Officers Sacked For Misconduct

A file photo of policemen.

 

Four senior police officers have been sacked from service for engaging in serious misconduct and acts unbecoming of public officers.

The Police Service Commission said this in a statement issued on Sunday by its Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani.

Ani said that the PSC took the decision at the 10th Plenary Meeting presided over by its Chairman, Mr Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police on Friday.

“A Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, was dismissed for discreditable conduct, dishonesty and act unbecoming of a public officer,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: EU Commends Buhari For ‘Swiftness’ In Release Of Kankara Students

“A Superintendent of Police was also dismissed for conspiring with four others to vandalize a transformer and stealing. The Commission also directed that the Officer should be prosecuted.

“The two other dismissed officers included a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)and an Assistant Superintendent of Police.”

The PSC spokesman explained that the DSP led a team that intercepted three Mercedes Benz trucks conveying about 300,000 live cartridges believed to have been smuggled across the border from the Benin Republic.

SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

PRESS RELEASE

PSC DISMISSES FOUR SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS OVER SERIOUS MISCONDUCT AND ACTS UNBECOMING OF PUBLIC OFFICERS; REDUCES THE RANKS OF TWO

The Police Service Commission has dismissed four senior Police Officers over cases of serious misconduct and acts unbecoming of public officers. The Commission also reduced in rank two other Officers while also handing punishments of severe reprimand and reprimand to four others (two each).

The Commission took these decisions at its 10th. Plenary Meeting presided over by Commission Chairman, Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police and which came to an end on Friday, December 18th, 2020.

A  Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, was dismissed for discreditable conduct, dishonesty and act unbecoming of a public Officer while a Superintendent of Police was also dismissed for conspiring with four others to vandalize a transformer and stealing. The Commission also directed that the Officer should be prosecuted.

The two other dismissed Officers are a Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Assistant Superintendent of Police. The DSP was said to have led a team that intercepted three Mercedes Benz trucks conveying about 300,000 live cartridges believed to have been smuggled across the border from Benin Republic into Nigeria. The team was said to have impounded the trucks at base for three days but made no entries nor a situation report of the arrest relayed. The DSP rather raised a fake letter purporting to escort the vehicles and suspects to Federal SARS Lagos with the dubious intention of ensuring their unlawful release. Luck however ran out of the team when they were intercepted at a Military checkpoint where soldiers on duty insisted on verifying the contents of the trucks. The DSP and his team were said to have abandoned the trucks and fled.

The ASP was dismissed for misappropriation, action prejudicial to the security of the state; sabotage; dishonesty and act unbecoming of a public officer.

The Commission also treated several appeals and petitions.

The Commission had also during the Plenary Meeting approved the  promotion of four Assistant Inspectors General of Police to the substantive rank of Deputy Inspector General of Police.

The new DIGs are expected to represent their geo-political zones in the Police Management Team.

The new DIGs are AIG Usman Alkali Baba, currently acting DIG Administration; AIG. Dan Mallam Mohammed, AIG in charge of Zone 13 Ukpo, Anambra State; AIG David Oyebanji Folawiyo, AIG in charge of Zone 17, Akure and CP. Joseph Egbunike, CP, Budget.

Thirteen Commissioners of Police were elevated to the rank of AIG, twenty-three Deputy Commissioners to CP, twenty-nine Assistant Commissioners to DCP, ninety-one Chief Superintendents to Assistant Commissioners including CSP Bello Dankal DPO, Bagwai Division, Kano State and five hundred and ninety-nine Superintendents promoted to CSPs which also included the Police Public Relations Officer, Anambra State, SP Haruna Mohammed and SP Umar Adekunle Fagbemi 2i/c SIB, Rivers State.

Ikechukwu Ani

Head, Press and Public Relations

Sunday, December 20th 2020

Bristow Helicopters Sacks 100 Pilots

A file photo of a chopper owned by Bristow Helicopters.

 

The management of Bristow Helicopters Limited has terminated the appointment of 100 pilots.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated its decision to lay off workers.

While describing the sacking as painful, the airline’s management said the move was inevitable in order to ensure the continuity of its business and delivery of essential services to its clients.

“This decision has not been made lightly, but having considered the state of the business and the very serious constraints caused by the spread of the COVID-19 disease and the downturn in the oil and gas market, the company must now take this painful, but decisive step to ensure the continuity of its business and delivery of essential services to its clients,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: Air Peace Sacks Pilots, Slashes Salaries Up To 40%

“One of these measures includes the right-sizing of the business to ensure that the company has the optimal level of personnel to continue the safe delivery of its services to its clients, whilst allowing the appropriate capacity for future growth.

“Accordingly, and with much regret, the company has taken the very difficult decision to release over 100 pilots and engineers (both National and Expatriates) over the next couple of weeks.”

This comes barely 24 hours after Air Peace sacked scores of pilots across its fleet while slashing staff salaries by up to 40 percent.

According to the airline’s spokesman, Mr. Stanley Olise,  the retrenchment, and shedding of workers were not unlinked with the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.